About us

The perfect one-stop-shop for anyone looking to transform their home

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RealHomes.com is the only website for anyone looking for home improvement inspiration, advice and buying guides.

It features great value shopping guides, decorating trends to inspire and the best reader home renovation and extension projects – including kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms for every budget. 

Don’t miss the new expert advice section, which offers readers the practical and inspirational advice they need to complete their home improvement project.

RealHomes.com is also the home of Period Living, Britain's best-selling period homes magazine and the best place to find advice to turn your old house into your forever home.

Meet the team

Lucy Searle: Editor-in-Chief, Realhomes.com

Lucy Searle

My first job was writing a DIY column for a magazine for the over 50s (which seemed a long way off back then). I then moved to a DIY magazine as deputy ed, then freelanced my way around the homes departments of most women's magazines on the market before working on Your Home and Family Circle magazines as homes editor. From there, I went to Ideal Home magazine as associate editor, then launched 4Homes magazine for Channel 4, then the Channel 4 4Homes website before going back to freelancing and running a social media business (you can see where I had kids from the freelancing gaps!). I was tempted back to the world of big business by the chance to work with the great time at RealHomes.com...

My interior style is...
... constantly evolving. I like Scandinavian style, so there's a lot of black, white and wood, but I'm also a fan of super-sized wallpaper prints, dark wall colours and vintage style, so you could say it's eclectic!

My next project...
Having my whole house repainted at the moment, inside and out... will be adding colour where there is none, and white where there's colour. Main change: painting all my white doors black!

My lust list....
More hallway storage: two kids, a dog and a messy husband make for a constant trip hazard. I'm thinking the entire range of baskets by Cox & Cox might be the best solution!

Special interests:
I'm obviously an interiors obsessive but aside from that I love dancing and gin (sometimes at the same time).

Follow me:
Instagram @lucysearle8373
Twitter @LucySearle

Beth Murton: Acting Editor, Real Homes magazine

Headshot of Beth Murton

(Image: © Katie Lee)

My connection with Real Homes goes back a long way as my first job in magazines was working as a sub-editor for the magazine more than 15 years ago. It cemented my love of all things homes-related and I’ve never looked back since. I’ve since worked on the launch of 4homes magazine, was deputy editor of Grand Designs magazine and Real Homes, and then I freelanced for a number of homes magazines for several years. I’m now on my third stint at Real Homes (I can’t stay away!) and I’m loving the changes we’ve recently made to the brand. 

My interior style is…
Working for Grand Designs made me want to build my own home, but budget (or should that be serious lack of budget) meant I had to settle for completely renovating a 1930s house from top to bottom instead. I’ve always been drawn to quite muted colours and natural textures, but I also love the impact of bold wallpaper and lots of artwork. Anything remotely mid-century in style gets my vote too. 

My next project...
My living room is in need of a complete revamp, so I’ve given myself a Christmas deadline to get it finished. I’m getting rid of the wallpaper, changing the colour scheme, adding a gallery wall and hopefully swapping the curtains for some sleek shutters. I’m also toying with the idea of a kitchen extension next year, so watch this space...

My lust list...
I’ve always been a fan of Ercol furniture, and the classic Originals Loveseat has been on my wishlist for a long time. 

Special interests...
Between work, two young kids and spending far too much time scrolling through Instagram, there’s not much time left these days, but I love being outside so you’ll usually find me out walking or cycling with my family at the weekend – basically anything that will tire out the kids! Oh, and boring all my friends with constant interiors talk over a large G&T...

Follow me:
Instagram @bethmurton

Jason Orme: Editorial Director

Jason Orme

I have been working in the homes sector for 20 years, spending much of this time as Editor of Homebuilding & Renovating magazine and authored The Self Build Dream. In this time, I have built several homes for myself and advised 1,000s of other on the best ways to design and manage their own building projects. I have also worked closely with the government to help shape housing policy.

My interior style is…
I wish I had one! I like different textures and natural colours (greens in particular)... I guess... but more importantly I think a home should be filled with things that mean something to you as a family. I'm surrounded by books which are always a shortcut to adding personality. As an utterly unsophisticated interior stylist I essentially like to copy looks I see on TV shows that I like. Luckily I've moved away from trying to recreate the Seinfeld apartment through now to the home from Madam Secretary. It's tragic, really.

My next project...
Landscaping. We've just completed our biggest project, the complete rebuild of a 1960s home on a fantastic rural site into an organic/contemporary family home. It looks great, but we couldn't stretch to the landscaping. So I'm spending my weekends building garden walls, and contemplating how to build a new garage.

My lust list...
A Habitat Days Forum sofa. Three of them please.

Special interests:
The architectural end of house design. House construction. Builders. Project costs.

Follow me:
Instagram @jporme

Lindsey Davis: Associate Editor, Realhomes.com

Lindsey Davis

I made my first foray into writing about homes five years ago when I joined the Homebuilding & Renovating team as web editor. In 2015 I was asked to look after Real Homes' predecessor Realhomesmagazine.co.uk and the Period Living website which has now found a new home on Realhomes.com. When I bought my first house four years ago my love of interiors suddenly became a lot more hands on. It is an ongoing project but I have put our advice to good use, tiling a bathroom wall and converting my loft. 

My interior style is...
I love the simplicity and cosiness of Scandinavian interiors so most of my home is painted white and accessorised with textiles, wood and colourful accessories. That said, I am a big fan of dark inky colours, so last year I painted a wall of my lounge the deepest, darkest green I could find (a low budget version of Farrow & Ball Studio Green). I live in a Victorian cottage so I have decorated in a way that lets the period features do the talking, without the place feeling like a living museum.

My next project..
I want to paint the orange pine cupboards in my kitchen. Maybe a grey blue? Or white? Or a really dark navy?

My lust list....
What I really want is a chaise-end sofa that is small enough to fit in my tiny lounge. The Lottie from Made.com is suitably stylish and pretty compact – I really should measure up!

Special interests:
Eco and I'm always impressed by the amazing things people manage to do on a budget.

Follow me:
Instagram @elledee20
Twitter @Lindsey_E_Davis

Annie Collyer: Deals Editor, Realhomes.com

A year ago I moved into a flat with my boyfriend and my love of interiors has grown from there. When I’m not shopping online for new homeware I’m usually snapping photos of my house for Instagram, or just *casually* moving furniture around. 

My interior style is…
White, always. My house has white walls, wooden flooring and pops of gold, black and wooden accessories, always paired with a statement colour. I usually go for mustard, but sometimes a deep red or maybe even a bright orange makes an appearance. I’m kind of obsessed with cushions and tend to over-purchase them, so my six seater sofa is basically impossible to fit on. I’d say my interior style overall is Scandinavian inspired with a dash of boho. 

My next project...
I'm on a mission to re-do our kitchen on a budget and would love to add a breakfast bar shelf. I just need to find the perfect one!

My lust list...
I’ve always wanted a freestanding bathtub (who hasn’t) and I think when it comes to re-decorating our bathroom, I may just have to get one. 

Special interests:
Can you ever scroll too much on Pinterest?

Follow me:
Instagram @anniecollyer

Anna Cottrell: Staff Writer, Realhomes.com

Anna Cottrell

(Image: © Anna Cottrell)

I moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space. I've always been interested in how people make houses into homes, and how our concepts of what's stylish change over time. I rent my home and am always looking at ways to make it cosy without having to do major DIY.

My interior style is...
Eclectic: I like things not to be too matchy-matchy and enjoy mixing traditional and modern styles. 

My next project is...
Decluttering! I always mean to do it, start, then somehow never quite finish sorting through all of the stuff accumulated over the years. 

My lust list...
I'm a sucker for lovely bedsheets and have been coveting the 1,000 thread count sheets from John Lewis for ages! Maybe this Christmas...?

Special interests:
Sustainability and reducing waste in the home: I am always looking for the latest innovations in eco-friendly and sustainable materials and technology.

Ellen Finch: Features Editor, Real Homes Magazine

Image of Ellen Finch

Since venturing into the world of interiors after a brief stint writing for true life titles, I've been consistently humbled by the beautiful homes I've been lucky enough to write about and the creative DIYers I've interviewed. Since I don't own my own home, I'm always taking inspiration from our renters' section, which is full of clever tips and tricks.

My interior style is...
A bit mix-and-match. I love patterned tiles, Mid-century furniture and plenty of art – but I can't afford all that, so it's mostly Ikea hacks and second-hand buys.

My next project...
Is re-doing my bedroom. With nine houseplants and counting in that room alone, I'm going to need a lot of shelving. I'm also toying with the idea of an open storage system, but with so many clothes to hang up, it's not going to look anywhere near as neat as it does on the Ikea website.

My lust list....
A quick glance at my bookmarks suggests I'm going for a Scandi look for my next project, with this bed, this desk and this nifty shelving unit(perfect for books and vinyls alike) top of the list.

Special interests...
Ironically, I'm both a prolific magazine hoarder and a storage enthusiast, which in reality means spending hours scrolling through storage porn on Instagram while the ever-growing paper piles in my room continue to be a trip hazard.

Follow me:
Instagram @ellenfinch
Twitter @llenfi

Hebe Hatton: Staff Writer, Realhomes.com

Hebe Hatton

(Image: © Hebe Hatton)

I joined Real Homes in early 2018, and I love the direction we are going in - there is such a gap in the market for a platform that offers ideas that are both aspirational and practical. I’m a renter, meaning I often have to get pretty creative with what I can do to my place, but who doesn’t love a challenge? Especially if that challenge involves lino flooring, woodchip walls and bathroom suites in various pastel hues...

My interior style is…
Everchanging. I want my bedroom to look like the set of Mad Men one day and Marie Antoinette’s boudoir the next. But the style that has stuck with me the longest is somewhere between Boho and a kind of 70’s vibe – think rattan, loads of orange, quirky prints and plenty of house plants.  

My next project…
To tackle my open plan kitchen/dining room/living room/spare bedroom (when needed). It’s a huge space with everything pushed into corners and against walls, making it feel somehow empty and cluttered at the same time. I’m thinking I need to get more imaginative with the layout. 

My lust list…
A bed. I should specify - a bed of my own. As a serial renter, I have been lucky enough to inherit lots of beds, so I am now on the hunt for a bed that has only been, and will only ever be, mine. I would love something crazy ornate like this rattan number from Anthropologie, but since space is limited this simple Scandi design from Made.comis next on my list. 

Special interests…
Instagram. I love using it to find loads of amazing interior ideas.

Follow me:
Instagram @hebehatton

Alison Jones: Assistant Editor, Real Homes magazine

Alison Jones author image

(Image: © Alison Jones)

I arrived at Real Homes after too long a career in newspapers (local and national). Following brief interludes as a news and court reporter, I found a natural home on the features desk (better hours, more perks) and bluffed my way to becoming a film critic/writer. Various multi-hyphenate roles followed, including editing numerous fashion, lifestyle and property magazines for the papers, before being unexpectedly offered a job at Real Homes.

My interiors style is...
In a state of flux. Every time I think I’ve moodboarded my way to a design scheme I’ll be happy with, I have my head turned by another great-looking makeover in Real Homes.

My next project is...
After being convinced by the can-do attitude of the renovators we write about, I bought a large Victorian house that was last decorated somewhere around the middle of last century. I am now trying to do it up armed with a little knowledge, even less money and a flat-head screwdriver.

My lust list...
I am steadily buying my way through much of what Made.com has to offer (new Penn bed arrives this week). I want a leather pouffe from Morocco, but only if I can go to Marrakesh to get it. And after interviewing theworkshopbelow.com back when they were making lights from jam jars, I always promised myself I’d get a bespoke piece from them.

My special interest...
I used to make quite elaborate occasion cakes. I’d like to get back to doing some of that... just as soon as I’ve built myself a kitchen.

Emily Shaw: Staff Writer, Realhomes.com

(Image: © Emily Shaw)

Even as a child I had an enviable gallery wall (by which I mean I’d Blu-Tacked an unbelievable number of free postcards and flyers I’d picked up to my bedroom wall) so it’s safe to say that I’ve always been interested in designing spaces that reflect me.

During a university summer spent interning with Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living and Real Homes, it dawned on me that I could build a career out of writing about homes. I joined the Real Homes digital team permanently in mid-2018 and haven’t looked back since! 

My interior style is...
I like to keep things light and bright, so white walls and wood tend to be my go-to. Aside from that, I love picking up quirky bits and bobs second hand and making a space seem cosy with textured cushions. 

My next project...
I recently bought a gorgeous (but massive) poster on eBay and choked on my tea when I discovered how much it’d cost to get it framed. So, my mission (when I’m willing to accept it) is to make a frame of my own. It’s just a few bits of wood… right? 

My lust list...
Having recently sold the desk I was so proud to have found in the street… then proceeded to never use… I’m on the lookout for a gorgeous chair to take its place. I have my eye on this Jute String Chair from Cox & Cox.

Special interests...
Knowing that I’ll be a renter for the foreseeable future (London life, right?!), I love finding little ways to make a rented home seem more my own.

Amelia Smith: Deputy Style Editor, Real Homes magazine

picture of author

I joined Real Homes magazine nearly two years ago and still can’t quite believe my luck! In every house (or more precisely, bedroom) I’ve rented so far, I’ve gone all out with the removable décor – I’ve even been known to put wrapping paper on my uni room walls as both a centre piece and a moodboard, so I’m loving all the ideas for renters we’ve got going on.  

My interior style is…
Always changing! I used to love all things elegant, delicate and pretty, but having the pleasure of looking at amazing and adventurous houses every day means my taste has become somewhat bolder! I love colour and pattern, so I want my home to have something beautiful and bright everywhere you look… simple Scandi just isn’t for me! 

My next project...
I’m currently cramming four years worth of household stuff and so many books into one bedroom, so I’m on the lookout for extra storage.

My lust list…
Dreaming of the day when I can decorate my own living room, I’d have the Rabarber wallpaper by Borastapeter, the Gracie three-seater velvet sofa (colour tbc as I love them both) and a really chunky soft rug to keep cosy.

Special interests...
I love a good patterned tile and beautiful architecture, so I’m happiest when exploring colourful European cities. Porto, Budapest, and Bruges are the last few cities I’ve visited, and shamelessly annoyed my friends by spending ages taking pictures of the buildings. Colourful house numbers in Bruges even inspired us to do a house number plaque moodboard shoot in the mag.

Follow me:
Instagram @ameliahelen20
Twitter @AmeliaHelen20

Meet the Period Living team

Britain's best-selling period home magazine, Period Living, also lives on Realhomes.com. If you are in the process of renovating, or just love beautiful, traditional properties and designs, you will find Period Living's expert advice and inspirational ideas invaluable.

Melanie Griffiths: Editor

Melanie Griffiths, Editor of Period Living

(Image: © David Lloyd)

I’ve been working in homes magazines for almost 14 years now, including stints as deputy editor on Homebuilding & Renovating and content production editor on Real Homes, and for the last two years have been editor of Period Living. I’ve been living in my current home in a rural village for nearly three years, and my husband and I are slowly improving it, room by room, although we have abandoned our original plans to extend it. I love homes and homely pursuits, as well as the countryside and animals.

My interior style is…
I prefer a muted backdrop, but with beautiful coloured or patterned fabrics, prints and accessories. I love to mix old and new; unique and high street, and don’t like being too ‘matchy matchy’. I dabble in a bit of upcycling when I can, but am not particularly good at it…

My next project…
We’ve been planning to do our kitchen ever since we moved in, but something has always gotten in the way. So it’s still the next big project to tackle. In the meantime, there’s plenty to sort out in the garden, which is my current obsession.

My lust list…
I’m after a dressing table that’s pretty but not fussy, and which has plenty of storage but doesn’t look bulky. I can picture it in my head, but so far the reality eludes me…

Special interests:
I love to cook and eat good food, and as an extension of that I’m obsessed with kitchens. Which might be why I’ve been planning my own kitchen project for three years!

Follow me:
Twitter @melanieshome

Rachel Crow: Content Editor

I joined the Period Living crew six years ago after freelancing for years on a range of titles, covering everything from homes and gardens, history, arts and crafts, to worldwide wildlife. I have the joy of covering all of these still, handily packaged together in the pages of PL – even the wildlife, just in the interior influences rather than the real-life finned, furry or feathered forms.

My Interior style is
Indecisive. I veer from hankering after a minimalistic and perfectly curated Scandi-style interior, embracing the colourful boho vibe, to surrendering to full on kitsch retro revival. Alas my home is none of the above. With two small children who scoff at my dreams of woodland wonderland themed bedrooms and nostalgic wooden toys in favour of Disney festooned lairs and plastic fantastic; a partner with a penchant for hoarding all manner of ephemera in ‘mole hills’ around the home, and two cats who positively dribble with excitement whenever anything ‘claw-able’ is brought into the house - I fear it will never be any of the above. So instead it is an eclectic mix. There are nods to mid-century modern, rustic flea-market finds, an upcycled piece here and there, all of which is nestled among or under the general detritus of daily family life.

My next project
Is to move. While I love my Victorian home with all of its cracks, quirks, wonky and draughty bits, I lust for a larger garden. Space for the small people to play, and I want to put into practice some of the gardening knowledge I’ve amassed while working on Period Living and create my own blooming and bountiful haven (cats, small children and ball/nerf games allowing!)

My lust list
A beautiful light-filled, open-plan kitchen/ diner/ living space, complete with log-burning stove, range cooker and a Smeg appliance or two. Not too much to ask, is it?

Special interests
I can’t resist tripping around a historic property, exploring inside and out.

Karen Darlow: Homes Editor

Karen Darlow Homes Content Editor Period Living

(Image: © Ollie Curtis)

For someone who once lived on a ramshackle houseboat slap bang opposite the UK’s most famous homeowner – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle – it’s surely only a natural progression that I should find myself nosing around and writing about other people’s houses. 

After a brief flirtation with music journalism, fashion and beauty, I worked at Ideal Home magazine during my castle/houseboat years and, don’t worry, it had a bath, flush toilet and oil-fired central heating – the houseboat, not the castle.

My interior style is…
Seriously compromised by family life. Eclectic though it may sound, the peloton of race bikes in the hallway, kitchen-diner and sometimes even the living room get in the way of my dreams of quirky vintage or elegantly curated antique style. Luckily I get my fix of stylish period living from Period Living and there’s a big bike shed on order. I’m just a bit worried about how it will impact my ambitions to tend a classic cottage garden. Things I admire in other people’s homes include clever ways of mixing vintage and modern furnishings, French brocante finds – think vintage bedlinen used as curtains – cosy Scandinavian tiled stoves and airy Swedish summerhouse style. 

My next project…
I’m looking for ideas to transform my pre-teen’s small-boy bedroom into a cool den with sleepover appeal while secretly mourning the fact that there’s no way I’ll get away with Scion’s Mr Fox curtains or Quentin Blake’s Cockatoos design wallpaper.

My lust list...
A set of six blue and green Hester dining chairs from Habitat, or some Ebay chapel chairs that I may or may not get round to upcycling with paint and cushions. 

Special interests...
Whiling away the weekends in National Trust homes and gardens, visiting the homes of great writers and often striking it lucky by combining the two. Never happier than when I’m by the sea with the prospect of a seafood supper to round off a perfect day.  

Follow me:
Instagram @karen.darlow

Pippa Blenkinsop: Style Editor

After graduating in Art History I cut my teeth assisting stylists with their commercial, editorial and event projects working for brands like John Lewis, Habitat and Tesco, which gave me invaluable insight into the industry. After a long slog of internships, work experience placements and cover roles, I finally got my foot in the magazine door and the rest is history. Now as style editor at Period Living my role involves styling houses, writing features and managing decorating, news and shopping pages; basically an interior-lovers dream!

My interior style is...
A complete hotch-potch! My home is an eclectic mix of chipped vintage finds and floral fabrics, original artwork and contemporary artisan crafts in my signature palette of pastel and jewel hues. Some would call me a hoarder, but I prefer collector...

My next project...
I’m decorating my lounge and am currently on the hunt for the perfect sofa and vintage cabinet. I’ve only been on the hunt two years… ok, so I’m a bit picky.

My lust list....
Where to start? Whenever I have a spare penny or two I like to treat myself to an original artwork. I dream of owning an original Elaine Pamphilon painting and Mark Hearld print or an original piece of folk art.

Special interests:
My allotment is my happy place. I mainly grow flowers for cutting; it’s so nice to have homegrown blooms on the kitchen table everyday. If I’m not there you’ll find me bumbling around the Cotswolds visiting vintage fairs and farm shops, or running marathons and practicing yoga.

Follow me:
Instagram @pippa_janey_stylist
Twitter @Pippajaney

Holly Reaney: Sub-editor and Features Writer

Holly Reaney Period Living

(Image: © Ollie Curtis)

Having recently graduated from University of Birmingham, Period Living marks my first foray into the working world.

My interior style is…
Evolving. I didn’t think I had much of an interior style until I went on holiday and stayed in a lighthouse on the edge of Loch Ness. The highland cottage style was beautiful, lots of blankets, cushions and exposed wood. I loved the rich colours and fabrics and found myself taking pictures of practically every corner. I even took apart the cushion covers to work out how I could replicate them on the sewing machine when I got home! 

My next project…
Having just survived the minefield that is student accommodation, I’m enjoying renting my own flat and being able to make it a bit more homely. With it being already furnished, I don’t get a lot of say in how it looks so I’ve got to get a bit creative with putting my own stamp on things. Having just finished making cushions for the living room, I’m expanding my creative ambitions to re-upholster two old oak chairs I’ve inherited from my grandma. 

My lust list...
It’s very rare that do I not have a plant near the top of my list. Right now, I’m lusting after a monstera deliciosa, more commonly known as the swiss cheese plant. I just loved how adding greenery makes even small spaces feel brighter and more interesting. Though since starting work at Period Living my list is getting increasingly longer…

Special interests…
Books will always be first but I love getting out and about, whether that’s hiking through the countryside or exploring a new city. I also love crafting and making things for my home, there’s lots of inspiration in Period Living as I’m constantly impressed by the DIYs that homeowners have done as part of their renovations.

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